Bono, Bruce Springsteen, Pete Townshend, Lou Reed, Lucinda Williams, Jim Jarmusch, and Little Steven are among those who have sung his praises. His album, American Ride, won “Best Rock Album of the Year” at the Independent Music Awards. It appeared on over one hundred year-end Top Ten lists for 2013 and Bono called it, “One of the great guides to unraveling the mystery that is the troubled beauty of America.”
In November 2014 he released an album of piano-based songs, If I Was A River, to universal critical acclaim. “One of the most brilliant singer-songwriters of the past thirty years” said The New Yorker. No Depression raved “Willie Nile’s artistic renaissance continues unabated.”
His 2016 album World War Willie appeared on numerous year end top ten lists as did hid his live shows. As American Songwriter said "Nile cranks up the volume and tears into these tunes with the same hunger, passion and exuberance he displays in his legendary sweat-soaked shows." World War Willie was voted “Album Of The Year” by Twangville Magazine and the song Forever Wild was named “Coolest Song In The World” by Little Steven's Underground Garage. In 2017 he released the critically acclaimed album Positively Bob – Willie Nile Sings Bob Dylan.